Last year’s Avengers: Infinity War was the beginning of the end for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This weekend’s Avengers: Endgame movie has forever changed the face of the universe we’ve grown to love over 10 years and 22 movies.
Caution: Major Avengers: Endgame spoilers will follow in this article.
Endgame picks up shortly after the end of Avengers: Infinity War. You see Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) teaching his young daughter how to shoot a bow and arrow. As she goes to collect the arrow, Clint begins to notice something isn’t right…
His wife, other child, and then his daughter have all disappeared. He’s left there all alone.
This is how Endgame begins. The ruthless pace doesn’t let up. It also doesn’t disappoint.
There were plenty of high and low points throughout Endgame. Many emotions were felt. And many Reel Leadership lessons were found in Endgame.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Avengers: Endgame
1. Great leaders are teachers:
Endgame begins with Hawkeye teaching his daughter Lila Barton (Ava Russo) how to shoot. She was picking up the bow just like her father. Because of Clint’s training, Lila was able to hit the target and handle the bow well.
If you want to become a great leader, you have to become a great teacher. Leaders not only lead, they help people learn what needs to be done.
2. Things can change in an instant:
With the snap of his fingers, Thanos (Josh Brolin) changed the world. He removed half of the world’s population, including Hawkeye’s family.
They disappeared while he was helping his daughter learn. In an instant, things changed for Clint and he chose to take up the mantle of Ronin.
It can be hard to lead when so many things change and change so quickly. This is a fact of life. Things change and you have to be prepared for the change.
3. Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans):
Tony, we lost…
Steve Rogers was responding to Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Junior) comment about how he had lost. Tony had been blaming himself for allowing Thanos to snap his finger.
Steve knew differently. Failure doesn’t fall on an individual.
While leaders need to be willing to bear the burden of failure, failure isn’t a solo event. Especially when there’s a team involved.
Don’t let a single person carry the whole weight of failure. It’s not just them. It’s the team.
4. War Machine/James Rhodes (Don Cheadle):
Okay, you’ve made your point. Now sit down.
The remaining Avengers had allowed Tony to air his grievances. Tony was able to say what was bothering him. That was a good thing.
But then Tony continued to rant and rave. This is when Rhodes stood up. He had enough and he did something a leader needs to do at times.
Rhodes told Tony he had made his point. Okay. We get it… Now it is time for you to sit down and be quiet.
Telling a team member this is challenging. It’s also needed or else a team member can go on and on and bring the team down.
Know when to tell someone to be quiet and sit down.
5. New people offer new chances:
Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) had her first appearance in the film Captain Marvel. She was shown to be a very powerful Marvel character that could change the tide of battle.
While she hadn’t played a part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe up until that point, Captain Marvel made a huge impact on Endgame.
Her appearance made a difference in the Avengers and their ability to defeat Thanos.
Don’t be afraid to bring new people onto your team. Their presence can change the course of your organization and help you achieve victory.
Look for people who will add something to your team that’s been missing. This is what will change your team!
6. Bad leaders can believe they’re doing good:
Thanos reiterated why he had chosen to wipe out half of the earth’s population. He was doing this to save the world from overpopulation.
Thanos’ actions had pure intentions behind them. He wanted to do good. However, his desire to do good didn’t make him a good guy. His actions showed him to be a villain.
It’s easy to believe our reasons for our actions can excuse poor choices. We can believe we’re doing good all we want. But, if we’re hurting people in the end, we’re not being good leaders. We’re being bad leaders.
Make sure your actions are lining up with good leadership principles. If they’re not, you’re probably moving away from being a good leader.
7. Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson):
Tony, we have to take a stand.
Hope Van Dyke/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) had all been vaporized in the snap while helping Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) enter the Quantum Zone. This left Scott stranded and by himself.
Luckily for Scott, a rat tripped the controls of the device used to get him to the Quantum Zone and freed him. However, this was 5 years after he originally entered the Zone.
His reappearance triggered new ideas for the Avengers. Scott mentioned how he’d been in the Quantum Zone for 5 years yet it had only been a few minutes in the Zone. This brought up the idea of time travel and performing a Time Heist.
They presented the idea to Tony Stark. He dismissed the idea originally but Natasha knew something had to be done. They had to take a stand. They would take a stand.
Leaders see what is wrong in the world. They know things could be better. They know they can be the one to change things.
This requires something from a leader. The change can only come about by taking a stand.
Be a leader who stands up for what is right. For what needs to be done.
8. Family is important:
Tony Stark had always been a playboy. In the five years since Infinity War, Tony had settled down with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and had a daughter. This possibility had never been truly thought of by Tony until he was forced into the position. Now, he knew what he wanted.
He no longer desired the money. Or the fame. Rather, his desires changed toward keeping his family.
If you’re married, you need to know what the most important organization you lead is. It’s not the organization you work for. It’s not the church you serve in. The most important organization you lead is your family.
9. Don’t let failure send you into a tailspin:
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) felt unworthy after Thanos destroyed the world. He went into a tailspin after beheading Thanos and returning to New Asgard. There, he let himself go.
The intelligent Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) set out to find Thor. When they found him, they found Thor was fat, drunk, and out of shape. Thor allowed his failure and the pain from the failure to send him into a tailspin that would be hard to recover from.
As a leader, you will fail at some point. Every lead will fail. At the point of failure, you will have to decide how you let the failure impact you.
Will you bounce back and learn from your failure? Or will you tailspin, like Thor, and let the failure destroy your life?
The choice is up to you. Make the right one.
10. War Machine:
You guys, watch each other’s 6.
Many of the Avengers had traveled to the planet Morag. Once there, War Machine told Black Widow and Hawkeye an important leadership lesson.
The nugget of leadership wisdom was this: Watch each other’s 6. This was his way of telling them to have each other’s back.
Do you have the backs of those you lead? You need to. Leaders have the 6 of those they lead.
11. Seek counsel from those wiser than you:
Thor had the opportunity to travel back in time to Asgard. He went far enough back in time that his mother, Frigga (Rene Russo).
While there, he asked her some tough questions. He also received some wise counsel from one of the wisest people alive.
Leaders have to be willing to ask great questions of those wiser than them. Doing so will allow you to gain insights into areas you don’t have knowledge about or allow you to gain wisdom without experiencing the pain of a difficult situation.
Find a team of wise counselors. Listen to them. Soak in their wisdom.
12. War Machine:
We work with what we’ve got.
With any movie, plans never go according to plan. The same goes with Endgame.
When the Avengers travel back in time, their plans get mucked up. They have to carry out audibles. They also have to work with less than desired tools.
War Machine knows what a leader must do at this point. They take an assessment of the tools at hand and then they work with them.
As situations arise, realize you won’t have everything you need to get the job done. You may freak out thinking “What am I to do?” You know what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to work with what you’ve got.
13. Tony Stark:
No amount of money ever bought a second of time.
Tony was able to meet his father, Howard Stark (John Slattery), in the past. While conversing with his dad, Tony told him a wise saying his dad had told him.
Howard’s quote about money not being able to buy time is so true. You cannot go and buy more time. You only have the amount of time you’re given every day.
Make the most of it. Don’t spend it all trying to make more money. You can always make more money. You can’t make or buy more time.
14. Black Widow:
I don’t judge people in their worst mistakes.
Black Widow knows what Hawkeye had done. He’d gone on a vigilante killing spree to take out the bad guys from the new world.
His actions were dirty. He did things he shouldn’t have. Yet Black Widow didn’t judge him based on his worst mistakes. She judged him based on who she knew him to be.
Your team members will fail. You will fail. Does this mean you’re not a good leader? Does this mean they’re not good team members?
Heavens no! Their mistakes do not define who they are. Because of that, be careful of judging them for their actions in their worst mistakes.
She’s not coming back. We have to make it worth it. We have to.
Black Widow made the ultimate sacrifice. In order to get the Soul Stone, someone had to die. Hawkeye and Black Widow went back and forth over who it would be. In the end, Black Widow was the one to die.
Her sacrifice was great. Her death was irreversible.
Because her death could not be undone, Hulk reminded Hawkeye of what needed to be done. They had to get the job done and make Black Widow’s sacrifice worth it.
People are sacrificing their time to come work for you. Yes, you’re paying them. Still, they’re giving you something they can never get back. They’re giving you their time.
Time from family. From friends. From other loved ones. This is a sacrifice.
Be willing to honor their sacrifice. Make what you’re requesting of them worth it.
16. You were made to lead:
The power that would course through a person when they wielded the Infinity Stones is great. It would kill most people. But not the Hulk.
The Hulk was made from Gamma Radiation. Do you know what the stones give off when used? The Infinity Stones give off Gamma Radiation!
This meant the Hulk was made for this task. His creation was from the exact same energy given off by the Stones.
You weren’t created from Gamma Radiation. But you were created by a Creator to do something grand.
I believe you were created to lead. If you’re imbued with the desire to honestly lead and serve others, you were created for it.
Be someone who steps into their role as a leader.
17. Find ways to combine your strengths with others:
In an epic battle with Thanos, Iron Man asked Thor to hit him with a bolt of lightning. Using the bolt of lightning, Iron Man became supercharged and used the extra power to attack Thanos.
Iron Man’s suit was his strength. Lightning was Thor’s. Combining those allowed them to become even more powerful.
Are you willing to partner and combine your strengths with other leaders? You should.
By finding other leaders to work with, you can supercharge your leadership abilities. I often think of the Bible verse where it tells us: Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Joining with others not only gives us new ideas. By joining with others, you both become stronger.
18. You are worthy:
I wasn’t expecting this to happen in Endgame but I was so excited to see this play out. What is that, you’re asking?
Thor had brought Mjolnir to present after visiting his mother. He now had Mjolnir and Stormbreaker in the present.
As Thor was being beaten on by Thanos, Mjolnir began to shake. You think Thor is calling for his hammer. He wasn’t.
Mjolnir took flight and Captain America took hold of the mythical hammer. Captain America is worthy, ya’ll!!!
You may not think you’re worthy enough to lead. You may have made mistakes in the past. Or poor choices hold you back from seeing everything you were made for.
Stop thinking this way. You are worthy. You are able. And you will lead well.
19. Captain America:
For the first time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Avengers battle cry was given. Captain America was the one to say the magic words and encourage the team.
A battle cry can be a unique rallying point for teams. I believe this technique has been lost in recent times but it is none the less still powerful.
Find something your team can rally around. Let it be a word that can encourage and bring your team together.
Use this when things are tough. Or people need to be reminded of the mission.
20. Winning can still be losing:
In probably the most heart-wrenching moments of Avengers: Endgame was the Avengers winning but Tony Stark losing.
Tony was able to wield the Infinity Gauntlet and snap his finger. This removed Thanos and his forces from the Earth. It also took Tony’s life.
So, there was victory. The world was free from the evil of Thanos. There was loss. Tony Stark sacrificed his life.
You may believe every time you win will be a happy moment. It won’t. There will be wins with terrible losses.
You will have to bear the weight of these losses. But you can make it through them.
21. Be willing to step out of your leadership position:
Thor realized he wasn’t a leader. He had failed Asgard and the people he was meant to lead.
He chose a noble path. When he realized this, he chose to pass the leadership baton to Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). he told her to be the leader Asgard needs.
Captain America did a similar thing. He had traveled back in time to return the Infinity Stones to the exact time they were removed from the timeline.
Instead of coming back, he chose to stay with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). He would return to the present only when the actual time came.
When he showed up on the bench, Sam Wilson approached him. He told Sam that it was time for Sam to become Captain America. He passed the shield to him along with the title.
There will be a time where you are no longer able to lead effectively. This doesn’t mean you are worthless or not valuable. Rather, it means there will be a time when you need to pass the leadership baton.
Don’t hold onto your title or position longer than you need to. Be willing to pass the baton when it is time.